If you were hoping that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s press conference would provide new information or a resolution regarding the Phoenix Coyotes sale tonight, you’re about as lucky as the City of Glendale. Still, the league’s biggest power broker did discuss the situation, taking a predictable direction by blaming the Goldwater Institute for holding up the deal and wiggling around a true deadline for a final verdict. (Dave Strader provides a decent summary of Bettman’s statements in this Tweet.)
Bettman acknowledged the possibility of relocation to Winnipeg/other “options” but while he said that time is running out, it’s clear that the league hasn’t given up completely yet. At least from a public standpoint.
Ultimately, we’re left with some morsels of information (or at least illumination) that will be covered in a moment, but it’s important to note that the Coyotes franchise along with the cities of Winnipeg and Glendale will need to wait for an answer. Bettman apparently met with Glendale’s mayor along with Coyotes players, coaches and front office members today, but it appears nothing decisive took place.
Perhaps the most useful bits of information relate to the fact that the purchase price hasn’t changed and any alterations would apparently be up to Matt Hulsizer and the City of Glendale. Bettman said that the team’s next owner will likely handle additional losses from the 2010-11 season. (According to Sarah McLellan’s accounts of the press conference.)
So there’s really nothing new to discuss here, other than the fact that the rumors are obviously given that much more credence since Bettman confirmed the big problems and admitted that relocation is a possibility.
It’s tough to refute the sentiment that the situation looks a little dire for the Coyotes’ future in Arizona, but it’s too early to say what will actually happen. The NHL has given the franchise every chance to remain in the Phoenix area, but it might not be in the cards.
Either way, we’ll keep you updated and provide video footage of the press conference if we get the chance.